Saturday, January 1, 2011

We still need a playoff

I have spent most of the last two days watching college football bowl games. I love college football and I will watch most games even if I don't have a dog in the fight. I know a lot of people are like me and really want a playoff system of some type for the Division 1 football championship. I am like the Coke Zero commercial guy, isn't it time for a true champion to be crowned on the field!

The games this weekend are all meaningless in the larger scheme of college football. Oh yeah, they mean something to the alumni, players and fans of the schools who are playing in the bowls. The way the teams have competed attest to the fact that the games mean something. But in the larger picture they are just an appetizer to the main entree which is the BCS Championship Game that will take place on January 10th of this year. Many of us are old enough to remember when College football ended on January 1st with the exception of the Senior Bowl and the East-West Shrine Game. You younger guys may have to google those! All those games mattered because you could be #4 in the polls and still win the national championship if the bowls played out just right for your team. Now they are just about bragging rights and next year's pre-season polls.

The powers that be used to say it was about not extending the season for the student-athletes, but come on man. Classes start at UF next Wednesday. There are still a number of bowls after that date including the championship game almost a week into the Spring semester. How does that not extend the season into the next academic semester? The argument was that the playoffs would extend the season too much, but a four week playoff would still end before the current setup does. It's not even like the teams are the same as the ones that finished the regular season over a month ago. All you have to do is look at the offensive production from many teams and you see what a month layoff does to the timing. Sure some teams play well one week, but could they do it for three weeks in a row? TCU beat a good Wisconsin team, but so did the entire SEC that played the Big Ten today. But could TCU get ready to beat Alabama next week? Wouldn't that be a fun game to see? We all know we want it, but nobody seems to really want to do it.

I think it is easier for folks to say we like the money, only paying out one road trip, and we will just settle for the way it is. But the fact is the way it is isn't good enough for every other NCAA championship. Over the holidays, I read about the Mark Cuban idea for a tournament. I hope he succeeds but I doubt even his money can change the good ole conference network that has the championship routed through the SEC, Big East (Joke), Big Ten, Pac 10 or Big 12. Maybe it would always end up with a couple of those teams playing anyway, but at least we would have a chance to see it play out on the field, where it should be.

I'll keep watching the games, but I sure wish I could watch with some anticipation that if my team wins this game, they will move on one step closer to the championship rather than just celebrating the fact that Urban Meyer won his last game as a Gator coach. Albeit a meaningless Outback Bowl victory. Now maybe it that came with a free Blooming Onion to all Gators, I might just change my tune!

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